Thursday, March 26, 2015

How Does it Feel?

"So... how does it feel?" 

I've been asked that question a lot in the two weeks since I left television. The thing is, I honestly can't answer it. I can't answer it, because it doesn't feel real yet.

In the last two weeks, I've taken a quick trip to Florida to see the Mets play spring training baseball, gone several days without shaving, stayed up later than 9PM and slept later than 2:30AM. I've joked that I've been "enjoying my retirement." But the truth is, it just feels like I'm on vacation. I have to remind myself that I'm not going back to WTNH on Monday. I'm going to be starting my new job at Gaffney Bennett Public Relations.

I have to remind myself of that, not because I'm not excited to start this new job. I can't wait to start! I have to remind myself of that, because for 20 years "going to work" has meant, basically, one thing -- being a news reporter or anchor. So my perception of a "work" is very limited. I'm excited to change that perception -- but right now, my mind can't quite fill in the canvas and paint that picture.

So for now, you'll have to accept "I don't know" as my answer if you ask, "How does it feel?" Eventually, I'll have a real answer. It just doesn't feel real yet.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Guys, I am overwhelmed. I'd say I'm speechless... but I'm writing a blog here. So I'll find some words...

The response I've gotten to my career change announcement this week has really taken me by surprise -- in the best way possible. I expected a handful of people to say, "good luck." I figured a few would say, "we'll miss you on TV."

I underestimated when I anticipated "a handful" and "a few."

I am humbled... I am moved... and I am appreciative. And I think there's a lesson here for all of us in this great business of broadcasting. We have an impact on everyone who watches or listens to us. Sometimes, that impact can be profound. And it's something we should always keep in mind and never take for granted.

Heck, that's a good thing to remember for anyone... in any line of work.

I want to share two messages I received that really hit me right in the feels.

In TV news, you're always pushed to think about what's next. Yesterday's story is "old news"; there's a new story to do today. But yesterday's story may have been a moment in someone's life... and to that person, that family, it'll never be "old news."
Wishing Chris the best of luck with his new career! He is an exceptional person who helped my son when he was in need of a living donor for a life saving liver transplant. He came the hospital and did a segment on him an old friend saw this and came forward and donated part of her liver. Chris heard about my son and without hesitation agreed to help. I will forever be grateful to him. Godspeed Chris.
In TV news, a newscast -- at its best -- is a shared experience. We forget that sometimes. Viewers don't.
We will miss seeing you in the mornings but sounds like you are really looking forward to your next chapter in life. I always enjoyed watching you, you always seemed so down to earth. One time that really sticks out is Dec 14th, you were reporting about Newtown and as I sat home and cried watching, it was clear how much it bothered you too. You weren't just giving us a story that night. I'm sure it was tough. Best wishes on your new journey. Job well done, you will be missed.
I can't tell you how grateful I am for posts like those and for all of the kind messages I've received. I've read every one. And I've tried to respond to as many as possible.

As I wrote, many factors have gone into my decision to leave TV news. Knowing I've had an impact on viewers' lives is humbling. I hope you know you've made a difference in my life, too.

Monday, March 9, 2015


They say "change is good."

They also say "change is hard."

I want to let you know about a big change I've decided to make in my work life that will affect every aspect of my life. It's a positive change... but It's going to take some getting used to.

On Friday -- this coming Friday, March 13th -- my alarm will ring at 2:30AM -- as it has pretty much every weekday morning for the last five years -- and I will prepare to anchor Good Morning Connecticut on WTNH/NEWS8 for the last time.

That's because I've decided to leave TV news, after 20 years. It is basically the only career I have ever known. But it is also the career that has prepared me for what's next.

My career has always been about communicating and storytelling. And I will continue to do that, but in a different place, in a different way and at different times of the day. I believe this is what is best for my future and my family.Gaffney Bennett Public Relations recently made me the proverbial "offer I couldn't refuse." As a reporter, I occasionally worked on stories with associates from GBPR. It's a terrific firm of communications professionals. And it's growing. I am really looking forward to the opportunity to bring my perspective and experience to one of the state’s most well-respected agencies. I'll still be sharing important stories with the people of Connecticut, just not on TV every day. I start at Gaffney Bennett at the end of the month.

I have really enjoyed my nearly 15 years at Channel 8. I’ve had the privilege of covering the most significant stories of the last decade and a half. I've had the opportunity to meet some fascinating and inspiring people. I’m proud to have built “Report!t” to become one of the station’s most recognizable brands through the weekly “Report!t Recap” segment. Working at WTNH -- the station I grew up watching -- has been a dream come true for me. I will always value my time there and appreciate the relationships I have developed.

And while I'll miss the people of NEWS8, the people most important to me are going to see me awake a whole lot more often. “Daddy’s sleep schedule" won't dominate the Velardi household anymore and we all look at that as an important component of this decision to take my career in a new direction.

The best part about this transition is that I won't have to move to make it happen. I'm making it at home, here in Connecticut. You’ll still see me at my kids’ games and concerts, supporting the organizations that have become important parts of our lives and serving as the chairman of the Soundview Family YMCA’s board of managers. You'll still see me on social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. You just won't see me on TV in the mornings, which will be a transition for all of us. But it's one that I know, in time, is the best move to make for my career and my family.

It’s time for something new.

It's time for a change.